Failing to get nod for religious conversion, Guj man moves HC

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Ahmedabad, Jan 14 (PT) A 32-year-old Hindu man seeking to convert to Islam has moved the Gujarat High Court to direct Bharuch district authorities to expedite the process, as he has already waited for more than a year after submitting an application for the same.

Petitioner Jignesh Patel's lawyer M T Saiyad on Thursday said Bharuch's collector has withheld Patel's application for more than a year, despite a sub-divisional magistrate's inquiry report filed in February 2020 giving a favourable opinion that he may be granted permission for conversion.

In a recent order, Justice Bela Trivedi directed the district collector to decide on Patel's application 'as expeditiously as possible', preferably within eight weeks.

'The application seeking permission of the collector at Bharuchis pending for more than a year. The petition was filed to direct the collector to decide on the application,' Patel's lawyer said.

The sub-divisional magistrate's report established that Patel was not under pressure to convert, as mandated in the state's anti-conversion law, Saiyad said.

Patel submitted his application to the collector on November 26, 2019, with a declaration that he was not under pressure or allurement for conversion.

The petitioner said in his affidavit that he was attracted to Islam and wanted to convert to the religion.

He had been living like a Muslim for six years, observing fasts during Ramzan, offering namaz and following other rituals associated with the religion, he said in the affidavit.

His application was even supported by one Imran Patel, the person who was to preside over the conversion, originally scheduled on January 1, 2020, but the collector never responded, Jignesh Patel said in his plea before the HC. PTI KA GK GK